Date: September 11, 2014
Author: Golfplus Media

Wollongong Golf Club � Thriving on every level

Tackling the demographic shift away from the longstanding club membership model and a reduction in participation levels in the game have unquestionably been among the most significant challenges the Australian golf industry has faced in recent years.

However, recent figures released by the Australian Golf Industry Council reflect on some exciting national trends with healthy increases in competition rounds played around the country in almost every state over the past financial year.

Strong growth and a surge in interest in the game at all levels are just some of the positives that have also been emerging from the Wollongong Golf Club in NSW for quite some time now, with the club declaring a 10% increase in income growth over the previous year across all divisions of the business.

A whopping 8% rise in golfing membership on the previous year has been a highlight and together with increases in social play, clubhouse and restaurant patronage and a burgeoning influx of house guests at the Best Western City Sands apartments housed within the clubhouse complex, are key components behind the positive vibe emanating from one of Australia’s oldest golf clubs.  

The industry counted on a groundswell of interest from the ‘Adam Scott effect’ but truthfully, the inspiration derived from Scott’s achievement in becoming Australia’s first Masters champion in 2013 is just one of the many elements linked to the success at Wollongong.

Of equal significance has been the club’s commitment to course improvement strategies, highlighted by the overwhelmingly positive feedback to the four newly designed holes that opened for play in April, and an unflinching desire to provide an outstanding service to the membership and their house guests.

Wollongong Golf Club General Manager, Leigh Hingston, is excited to be at the helm of a golf club that is surging ahead in all facets of its business.

“For us, it’s so exciting to see such a positive reaction to the investment and dedication everyone at the club has embarked upon to sustain and continue to improve the overall experience for our members and guests.”

“I’m a firm believer that people want to be associated with success and our growth in membership alone is testament to that. We’ve not been constrained from trying anything different or new to try to divest some wealth into our membership base and customers.” 

The staging of a highly successful 2014 Subaru State Championships, part of the Jack Newton Junior Golf series, at Wollongong in early July was another highlight for the club with national and international competitors and tournament officials praising the host venue, according to Hingston.  

Other first time or returning visitors to the region and to Wollongong Golf Club have also been taken aback by the transformation occurring at the club and surrounds.

“Our house guests have appreciated not only the quality of the golf course but the value for money and hospitality we’ve been able to afford them. They also enthuse about the array of facilities they have at their doorstep as a house guest.” Hingston said.

“These extend beyond the dining and bar experiences in either the clubhouse or on the deck overlooking the golf course and ocean. Within a few minutes’ stroll, our guests can be at the beach or in the heart of the city’s shopping, café, dining, convention and nightlife precincts.” 

“There aren’t too many clubs that can boast one of Australia’s oldest golf courses still in its original location in close proximity to the ocean, along with ready access to the amenities of the city, the boat harbour and the stunning beaches we enjoy here in Wollongong.”

"The diversified product offering at Wollongong Golf Club makes it the perfect venue from a destination marketing perspective,” added Destination Wollongong General Manager, Mark Sleigh.

“Wollongong Golf Club has taken the lead in attracting a new segment of visitation through the creation of Grand Pacific Golf, an umbrella marketing brand bringing together several excellent local courses and marketing them as a package. With excellent accommodation and food and beverage offerings as well as a perfectly located golf course (within 2km of the Wollongong CBD and set on one of our wonderful beaches), Wollongong Golf Club is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the Grand Pacific Golf concept.”

“The board and management should be congratulated on their visionary approach to making the most out of their fantastic facility."